We are taught in the addiction treatment community to be careful about taking inventory of someone else’s life. for a loved one who sees a family member struggling with an alcohol problem, it’s hard to not be concerned and make judgments.
If you have a loved one who drinks too much, you are probably concerned about whether or not they have become an alcoholic. In your heart of hearts, you probably know the answer but are maybe struggling to admit it to yourself. The reality is it matters very little what you think in terms of someone getting help for a drinking problem. Until they are willing to accept they have a problem, it’s very unlikely they will seek help.
Where knowing if a loved one is an alcoholic can help you is if you believe the information would give you the basis for motivating them to get help.
The titled question is, ”At what point can you tell if someone is an alcoholic? Determining if someone is an alcoholic is a difficult thing to do. It is quite possible for them to have some level of dependence on alcohol but in fact not be an alcoholic.
The line between dependence and alcoholism is often determined by one factor. If the drinker were to encounter withdrawal symptoms with any meaningful period of not drinking, they have become an alcoholic. For an alcoholic, withdrawal symptoms would include:
- Trembling hands and legs
- profuse sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- The DTs
- High blood pressire and an elevated heart rate
- Loss of the ability to concentrate on simple thing
These are the withdrawal symptoms that serve as physical warnings that someone has become an alcoholic. Below, we will offer information about the behavioral signs of alcoholism.
Behavioral Signs of Alcoholism
Even highly functional alcoholics will eventually see deterioration in their lives. It’s just a matter of time. For the normal alcoholic, the behavioral signs of their addiction are usually quite apparent.
If you are willing to look at your loved ones behavior objectively, here are some of the behavioral signs you might notice:
- They have stopped taking care of their personal appearance
- They ignore personal responsibilities like cleaning house and paying bills
- They often find time to drink alone
- They are always looking for money with which they can buy alcohol
- They start having legal problems with DUIs, criminal behavior, and divorce
- Their personal relationships are falling apart
- They start having significant problems at school or work, losing their jobr
- They drink a lot and they drink often
These are just a few of the signs. If you know your loved one very well, just look for signs they are acting in ways they would not otherwise act. That’s the surest sign that something is not right.
Once you know for sure your loved one is an alcoholic, you will probably feel a desire to help them. That’s okay. However, you need to be cautious so you don’t get pulled into the addiction as a codependent loved one.
Initially, you can approach them with your concerns about their drinking. We caution you that many actual alcoholics are in denial. Still, you approaching them will serve as a warning that you notice something is wrong. It might be enough to wake them up and push them to stop and seek help.
If they won’t stop and you see further deterioration, you might want to consider an intervention. Thus is a process by which you and a group of other caring friends and relatives would come together to constructively tell your loved one that their behavior has become unacceptable and they need help. If you were to also offer care and solutions like a trip to rehab, it might be enough to get them to agree to get help. Of course, they might reject your overtures, resulting in hard feelings. That is a risk you would have to take.
If you can get them to agree to get help, we would be happy to serve as the rehab center of choice. We could first offer you advice on how to put on an intervention. From there, we could offer our treatment services. If you would like more information or our help, you just need to pick up the phone and call us at 833-820-2922.